Following an investigation by The Times in London, several major advertisers (AT&T, Verizon, HSBC, etc.) have pulled their ads off YouTube after discovering their brands appeared next to videos promoting terrorism and other distasteful subjects. The boycott threatens to cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars. YouTube receives 400 hours of videos per minute, making it necessary to automate the function of placing ads on videos. Despite advances in artificial intelligence, Google has still struggled with blocking offensive content.
YouTube has become one of the fastest growing parts of Google’s ad system, which in total generated $79 billion in revenue last year.